Literacy standards are raised at HAGR through a strong knowledge of disciplinary literacy, excellent teaching and learning, an ambitious and sequenced curriculum and specific intervention and support for the weakest learners.
We recognise that for our pupils to lead happy and successful lives and succeed they must be literate. However, we acknowledge that literacy is not simply ‘ability to read and write’ but goes further. Literacy also encompasses the cultural references pupils need to read widely, the resilience needed to meet the demands of challenging texts in exams and beyond, alongside a vast vocabulary to decode texts and express themselves. Ultimately, we recognise that literacy is a broad term for the multiple skills and knowledge which pupils need to be fluent readers, writers and speakers.
We also recognise that being literate in one discipline is different to another. With this in mind, at HAGR we don’t have a ‘one size fits all’ approach to policy around literacy. Instead, each subject area receive training to design curriculum and lessons which teach the necessary literacy skills to succeed in their discipline. We firmly believe that literacy is not a stand-alone issue: it is a multi-faceted issue with many challenges; it takes excellent curriculum design; excellent teaching and learning; targeted intervention; cross-curricular effort to ensure our pupils have the tools to succeed.
HAGR’s literacy policy has been informed by recent research led by The Education Endowment Foundation’s ‘Improving Literacy in Secondary Schools’, research endorsed by The National Literacy Trust. It is also informed by the work of Alex Quigley’s The Vocabulary Gap, Doug Lemov’s Reading Reconsidered and Daniel Willingham’s The Reading Mind.